Haryana government claims roadways strike over

Chandigarh, Jan 21: Even as the Haryana government Tuesday claimed that the four-day strike called by government roadways employees unions has been put off, a section of the striking employees claimed the strike was very much on.

Haryana Parliamentary Affairs Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala claimed Tuesday that the Haryana Roadways Employees’ Coordination Committee has decided to call off the strike after talks with the state government, which ended early Tuesday morning, were successful in breaking the deadlock.

Haryana Roadways buses could be seen arriving and leaving various bus stands across Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi as bus services were slowly restored.

However, Haryana Roadways Employees Union leader Sarbat Singh Punia said the strike was continuing and that only a section of union leaders agreed to call it off.

Employees from other government departments like electricity, health, ministerial staff, water, tourism, boards and corporations have also threatened to go on a three-day strike from Tuesday.

Surjewala said the talks with the employees’ coordination committee leaders were successful and the government agreed to give regularised salary to all eligible employees employed after 2003. He said this will benefit over 8,200 employees.

Regarding the contentious issue of over 3,500 route permits, which the roadways staff are strongly opposing, the government said it has formed a committee to look into the objections being raised by the employees in this regard.

Hari Narayan Sharma of the All Haryana Roadways Worker Union said: “If government goes back on its promise, we will go on strike again. We do not want to inconvenience common people.”

Tens of thousands of passengers were harassed Monday as employees of the state-run roadways buses went off the roads.

Haryana Roadways buses, which ferry nearly 10 lakh people daily, remained off roads at most places Monday.

The union gave the strike call to press its demands and refused to heed an appeal by the state government to call it off.

The association is demanding cancellation of 3,519 lucrative route permits to private bus operators across Haryana being given by the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led government in the state. They are also seeking employees on contract be absorbed in regular service and given other perks.

Over 19,000 roadways employees were participating in the strike. Nearly 3,900 buses remained off roads Monday.

Haryana Transport Minister Aftab Ahmed said maximum demands of the roadways employees have already been accepted.

IANS